December 8, 2020–February 28, 2021
All day event.
So They Sang is an open call exhibition of works from across The Claremont Colleges that runs Dec. 8, 2020 through Feb. 28, 2021. The exhibition presents visual and literary works by Jess Csanky, Brian Fahlstrom, Stephanie Hutin, Truman Knowles, Julia of Ks, Animesh Ray, Ariel Joy So and Waverly Wang (HMC '23). The featured image is by Wang.
In February, before COVID-19 became a pandemic, the gallery announced a call for “art related to music” as a way of rather celebrating its concerns regarding the location and function of the space: “While the gallery’s otherness and space of its own are suggested by the glass doors, high ceiling and vast white walls, the room is forever an entrance and pathway to Drinkward Recital Hall.” Following the indication of physical challenges and limitations, the call asked to consider the special situation where “art lives with music … [and] imagines music, the silence in between, and the experience of each person that walks into the recital hall.”
Acknowledgement of music as the invisible counterpart to the gallery and its art was thought meaningful for two reasons. First, a presence of an invisible counterpart turns any that is the visible or original part into one that is more metaphysically charged and doubled to encompass the entire mimetic world of both parts, of body and soul. Second, when the invisible counterpart is music, the mimetic world becomes a sonorous one where body and soul, or the origin and its copy, or the visible and the invisible are given breath and further actualized in reverberation. The effects of sonority and reverberation are well elaborated by Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space (1958):
In this reverberation, the poetic image will have a sonority of being…. A phenomenological inquiry on poetry … must go beyond the sentimental resonances with which we receive … a work of art…. In the resonance we hear the poem, in the reverberations we speak it, it is our own. The reverberations bring about a change of being. It is as though the poet’s being were our being…. The poetic image places us at the origin of the speaking being. Through this reverberation … we feel a poetic power rising naïvely within us.
As the gallery’s jurisdiction in poetry and the soulful matters extends beyond what its physical circumstances allow, that of each featured artwork also increases. In the now sonorous gallery, the poetic image of the artwork or the visible not only mimics the origin and the invisible but becomes inseparable from them and from the soul. The space offers a doubling of the already doubled, for the works in this exhibition are not flat or horizontally laid out notes but vertical chords of multiple and simultaneous notes – of body and soul, of the visible and the invisible, and in some cases, of the past, the present, and the future.
So they sang.
- Jess Csanky is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2020.
- Brian Fahlstrom was a visiting artist adjunct in the MFA program of Claremont Graduate University in the year of 2019-2020. He received his MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and lived and worked in Los Angeles for 20 years. He currently maintains a studio in North Idaho.
- Stephanie Hutin is the director of Intercollegiate Media Studies Production at the Claremont Colleges. She earned her MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Experimental Animation and Integrated Media.
- Truman Knowles is a second-year student at Claremont McKenna College and majoring in Neuroscience. He is also a poet.
- Julia of Ks, previously based in New York and Oslo, has been contributing to Sprague Gallery, Harvey Mudd College, as curator and administrator since 2017. She received her MFA from Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
- Animesh Ray, an avid photographer and writer in his leisure, is a professor of Systems Biology at Henry Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, Keck Graduate Institute. He is also on the extended faculty of Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Claremont Graduate University.
- Ariel Joy So majored in English with a Creative Writing emphasis at Scripps College. She graduated summa cum laude in 2020.
- Waverly Wang is a second-year student at Harvey Mudd College majoring in Computer Science and pursuing a Media Studies concentration. She maintains a portfolio of drawings and 2D graphics.
The exhibition is curated by Julia of Ks.